First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

John Richard NEWELL (1890–1918)

John Newell

John Richard Newell was born in Headington on 5 August 1890, the son of Thomas Newell (born in Stanton St John in 1861 and baptised there on 16 June) and Mary Ann Creed, known as Annie (born in Headington in 1866 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 28 October).

His parents were both living in New Headington when they married (evidently in haste) at St Andrew’s Church on 2 September 1888, and they had eight children:

  • Rhoda Ann Newell (born in Headington on 13 November 1888 but not baptised at St Andrew’s Church until 28 September 1890, together with her next sibling)
  • John Richard Newell, sometimes recorded as Richard John Newell (born in Headington on 5 August 1890 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 28 September)
  • Rose Newell (born in New Headington on 26 September 1892 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 6 November)
  • Amy Primrose Newell (born in Headington on 19 April 1895 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 16 June)
  • Sarah Elizabeth Newell (born in New Headington on 15 September 1898 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 6 November)
  • Mary Ann Newell, known as Annie (born in Headington in 1901/2)
  • Thomas James Newell (born in Barton on 17 June 1904 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 2 October 1904);
    died at Barton aged five and buried at Headington Cemetery on 8 November 1909
  • Richard Newell (born in Barton on 5 July 1908 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 5 July).

At the time of the 1891 census John (eight months) and his older sister Rhoda (2) were living in Lime Walk with their father Thomas, who was a builder’s labourer, and their mother Mary Ann, who was a laundress as well as having to look after her first two children.

By the time of the 1901 census John (10) was living with his parents in New High Street (in the house now numbered 63). John was now ten years old and had three younger siblings, and his father was working as a woodcutter.

By the time their seventh child was born in 1904, the family had moved to Barton, and they are shown there in the 1911 census. Both John’s father and John himself (now 20) were working as farm labourers. John’s four younger siblings were also still at home.

♥ On 23 July 1912 at St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington, John Richard Newell married Caroline Annie Jacobs (born in Barton on 16 May 1885 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 28 June 1885). They had three children:

  • Wilfred John Newell (born at Bath Cottages, New Headington on 9 August 1912 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 6 October 1912)
  • Beatrice Caroline Newell (born at 4 Bath Cottages, New Headington on 1 October 1914 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 6 December 1914; died at Barton at the age of 3 and buried at Headington Cemetery on 1 June 1918)
  • James Richard Newell (born at Barton on 23 September 1916 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 5 November 1916).

The couple began their married life at Bath Cottages (also known as Mattock’s Row) on the south side of Wilberforce Street, but had moved to Barton in the parish of St Andrew’s by 1916. John was a farm labourer when his first two children were baptised, but had already enlisted and was described as a soldier at James’s baptism in 1916.

Poppy In the First World War John Richard Newell served as a Private, first in the Royal Berkshire Regiment (Service No. 27987) and then in the 10th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment (Service No. 25743). He died in Italy at the age of 29 on 8 August 1918, just two months after the death of his three-year-old daughter.

He is buried in the Montecchio Precalcino Communal Cemetery extension (Plot 5, Row C, Grave 6), and his war grave there has the added words “GOD BE WITH YOU”. (Only 40% of war headstones bear an inscription such as this near their base: the main inscription was free, but families had to pay 3½d per letter for a personal message.)

He is remembered on the roll of honour of St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington.


St Andrew's memorial board

John’s mother
  • Mrs Annie Newell died at the age of 62 at St Andrew’s Road, and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 17 September 1925.
  • Thomas Newell was living at 13 St Andrew's Road from at least 1930 to 1936.
John’s two surviving children
  • Wilfred John Newell (born 1912) married Florence Lilia Harvey at St Andrew’s Church in Headington on 28 May 1945. He was in the army and she was a shop assistant, and they were both living at 27 Fettiplace Road in Barton at the time of the marriage. He died in Oxford in 1980.
  • James Richard Newell (born 1917) died at the John Radcliffe Hospital at the age of 64 on 31 July 1981 and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery on 7 August (Plot L6.45).

See also

Back to St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website